Half terms are always a struggle - finding the balance of chilling out and keeping active - and for us this year it is keeping Joe off the computer - if he had his own way he would be on 14 hours a day - admittedly playing with friends, communicating and team work but its not climbing a tree and that all we can relate too therefore computers are bad and trees are good! To give him credit he will happily come off computer and do things with us we just have to instigate it and then he will enjoy whatever we have planned nd give his all attention to it so I cant complain really .
This summer I wanted to get him into the print room and having a go - Hes done screen printing with me several times at home and even produce a 4 colour reduction print from scratch while he was only 10 so I knew he’d love it and be perfectly capable.
We did some quick internet searching for a image he would like to trace as the image was not as important as the process this time.
He loved all the heavy iron machines and the sense of danger in the room - hotplates , chemicals and massive presses.
He was very keen to do every part of the process himself and not have help so with very minimal instructions he performed each task perfectly. Grounding his own plate (so evenly I was a bit put out - how come he’s perfect first time!) Tracing the image with carbon paper and then using the scribes to drawer into the wax - this part was a bit long and I though Id lose him but cake and coffee break helped to keep him at it longer!
Etching the lines was really exciting - seeing the metal surface bubble and fizz in the copper sulphate - the reveal of clearing off the wax to see your image etched into the metal was a joy to see his face as he was really pleased.
Inking up is a tricky process and one my students sometimes struggle to get right - not Joe - he made it look easy and was ready to print in record time with a clean evenly wiped plate.
Winding the press is heavy hard work - even though they are geared its the shear scale of the thing - but again Joe wanted to do it all himself and did manage.
Revealing the first print never gets old - I could sense his joy as he pealed back the paper - its the ultimate printmaking - seeing your artwork for the first time appear as you peel back the paper.
He Loved his day - and is keen to do more - the boy has common sense and patience and was very keen to best me - all in all it worked out as a great days printmaking.
Iron press printmaking is a community studio providing taught courses and open access for people to use the printmaking equipment - a team of 4 artists/technicians help to run the place and teach alongside Master printmaker Iain Sloan. ( I am one of the artist/technicians)